I went to see my bank last week. This doesn't happen very often, as I'm hardly a major client, and they have a habit of only being open when I am at work.
But the local branch is now open until 7pm once a week, so a quick sprint out of the office and I actually managed to talk to someone face to face for the first time in about 5 years.
Towards the end of the appointment, the Advisor asked me how I felt the meeting had gone, on a scale of 1 to 10 (I scored him 9).
This was exciting! I've banked with them for over 20 years, and this was the first time that anyone had ever asked me how I felt about their service. I was fascinated when he wrote the answer on the corner of a pad he had been jotting notes on – how did this feed into their Voice of the Customer system?
It didn't, but his next comment explained it all.
“You might get a call in the next few days, asking you about this appointment. Please would you give the meeting a score of 9 or 10 if they ask you? It affects my bonus”
That’s one Voice of the Customer measure that’s pretty much dead in the water. It has certainly changed staff behaviour - they are trying to rig the scores with a little emotional blackmail. Presumably someone is sitting behind a desk at head office tracking all of these scores and trends and trying to derive measures for loyalty and performance, but it would be quicker and cheaper (and possibly more accurate) to just toss a coin.
The daft bit is that I am VERY loyal to this bank (a customer for 23 years and counting) but this supposed Voice of the Customer process is never going to have a clue why.
I'm loyal because, a long time ago, customer service was something staff did on their own initiative. My first ever business trip found me stranded in Beijing with no money and my corporate credit card (American Express) was frozen because I’d tried to use it overseas! My local branch (5,000 miles away) sorted me out with an on the spot emergency overdraft, enough to cover 4 weeks of business travel and client entertainment. In the space of one five minute phone call.
This wasn't a normal service. There wasn't a standard form and it didn't follow normal banking process - they don’t tend to give a >£10k overdraft on the spot for 4 weeks based on a single slightly panicked phone call.
But my bank did – or rather the local branch agent and the local bank manager had the ability and insight to make a local decision and did something unusual and extraordinary. It helped me out when I was really stuck – and I have stayed with them for over two decades as a result.
Does your Voice of the Customer programme spot these Wow-moments? Does your customer feedback encourage your staff to take these steps and amaze your customers? Or are you actually running surveys and (shudder) mystery shopping; hiding tedious compliance metrics under the popular banner of Voice of the Customer?
Here are a few well known examples of companies and staff doing something which almost certainly did not comply or achieve their box ticking targets, but which shine out through Voice of the Customer as true wow-moments, and will win customer loyalty and active advocates for years to come:
Find out how to capture the Voice of the Customer at Moments of Truth in our infographic: